Munster forwards coach Graham Rowntree admits that Saturday's Pro14 clash with Leinster is a step into the unknown but he insists the province are as ready as they can be for their first game since late February.

Former England and Lions coach Rowntree says that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted both training and video analysis ahead of the derby with the competition's only undefeated side, but he points out it will be the same for both teams.

"We're looking forward to Saturday night. We're ready for it," he told 2fm's Game On.

"We're going to be a bit ring-rusty but so will Leinster. We've trained well, we've done as much as we can.

"Obviously, in lockdown the guys have trained. We've given them programmes and have been monitoring how fit they have been and how much running they have done.

"We've brought them back and we've had to accelerate them back into the contact, which has been the big thing, getting their bodies used to contact and scrummaging. But we've got plenty in the bank and we'll see what comes."

"Teams have things that they like doing, teams have traits that they have used and have been succesful with over the last few years.

"So we've had a good look at them, and what they like to do, and they'll have had a good look at us."


Jonny Holland: Prepare for ring rust and ruck rule confusion as the Pro 14 returns


Rustiness and new interpretations of the breakdown led to a raft of penalties upon the resumption of rugby in both New Zealand and England but Rowntree is confident Munster will have done their homework?

"There has been a bit of a change in the way the game is going to be refereed around the breakdown," he said.

"There are no new laws as such but they're really going to enforce the existing laws.

"I like what they're doing with the ruck. They're trying to make the ruck safer. You can't dive off your feet, you've got to drive through the ruck.

"The guy who is trying to steal the ball, they are protecting him more now. As long as he's got upward pressure on the ball, he can turn that ball over, whereas previously, some guys would have to survive a pretty violent clearout to win that turnover. 

"We have worked on it, we'll just have to see how it works Saturday night."

Damian de Allende (L) and RG Snyman

The former Leicester and England prop said he was attracted to join the province this season after working with the likes of Paul O'Connell, Donncha O'Callaghan and CJ Stander on Lions tours.

He has been similarly impressed with how the newly arrived Springboks RG Snyman and Damian de Allende have adapted to life in Limerick.

"They have been good around the place. World Cup winners but incredibly humble and professional. They'll get on with stuff.

"RG Snyman, I don't think I've ever worked with anyone as big as the fella (6'10) but he's incredibly agile and quick to pick things up. He's a giver to the group.

"They've been very impressive and I'm looking forward to seeing them on the field in a red shirt.

"We wouldn't have signed guys unless they were going to fit in with the Munster way."

Follow Leinster v Munster (7.35pm, Saturday) and Connacht v Ulster (4.30pm, Sunday) via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app, or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1